Iria: Zeiram the Animation (I.R.I.A. Zeiramu Ji Animēshon) 1994
This short OVA series serves as a prequel, kinda, to the sci-fi/comedy/action film Zeriam from 1991.
Based on my quick comparison via youtube (which was not at all comprehensive btw) the 1991 film has a vague Power Rangers feel, though it’s not pitched at young folks either.
The OVA is probably closer to sci-fi and action (with some light horror aspects), and being free from the constraints of early 1990s special effects, has aged far better in my opinion.
Now, for folks looking for heavy gore etc you won’t get that here, despite the seemingly immortal Zeiram having a penchant for human innards, but there’s a relentlessness to the thing that should at least have you concerned for the characters. (Having said that, fans of Alien might actually like this).
Iria is a good heroine too and the supporting cast are memorable, especially Fujikuro, and there’s enough twists and turns to the plot to keep you entertained if you’re a fan of the genre. For me, the biggest thing I enjoyed (aside from some excellent character design and great range of gadgets and weapons) was the setting.
Myce and the other planets are shown to be earth-like but perhaps a little more of a combination of new and old, of futuristic and nomadic, even. Sometimes I thought there was a faint south-east Asian feel to some of the settings and even vehicles but I’m not sure I can put my finger on exactly why that is beyond the shapes and some of the tropical aspects?
Either way, it’s nice to see something different in what is a really, really well-explored sub-genre 🙂
So, if you’re looking for a science-fiction/action series that tends to be overlooked perhaps, then this is probably one worth giving a shot. (Further, if you’re feeling ‘time-poor’ then there are only 6 episodes here too.)
(A quick final note – the opening theme song (which I still like) always struck my as oddly out of step with the show, yet also completely and utterly on point for early 90s cyberpunk-ish OSTs)
And a second final note – I always thought Zeiram and Gime (from Battle Angel) could have been pals due to their shared love of wide-brimmed hats.